The protein encoded by this gene is a cytokine that controls the production, differentiation, and function of macrophages. The active form of the protein is found extracellularly as a disulfide-linked homodimer, and is thought to be produced by proteolytic cleavage of membrane-bound precursors. The encoded protein may be involved in development of the placenta. Four transcript variants encoding three different isoforms have been found for this gene.
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